Bathurst Quay Revitalization | ?m | ?s | City of Toronto | Kearns Mancini

interchange42

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I read something about an array of escalators moving people through the silos to different levels to view various projects. If this does move ahead as planned, the silos - at least to some degree, will be functional spaces.

Yup - the plans on the renewed Metronome website definitely show the silos being used, and new floors being added on top - so this plan definitely involves a total restoration of the structure.

I have no idea what Metronome's chances are of raising the cash this time when last time failed. I imagine they are battling to get the City interested again, which may be tough as several city councillors will not want to risk looking foolish should this attempt fail as well... so Metronome will have to have a fair bit pledged by Panasonic already to get any traction there I'd expect.

That said, I would love to see this go forward: I think the silo interiors would be fascinating museum spaces, and I would like to see this building remain as the west anchor to the harbour.

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PS - Will it soon be time to unite this thread with the older Metronome thread? Let's see where this proposal goes...
 

interchange42

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Community Consultation about the Canada Malting Silos

Date: Wednesday October 21
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Location: Harbourfront Community Centre
627 Queens Quay West (Queens Quay and Bathurst)
Medium Assembly Room

Councillor Adam Vaughan invites you to attend this public meeting to provide your feedback about the future of the Canada Malting Silos.

Over the years there have been a number of meetings, ideas and plans about the Canada Malting Silos site. Recent discussions about a Toronto Museum at the silos have concluded. Some new ideas are now emerging about the Malting Silos and we want your input.

City staff from City Planning, Heritage Preservation Services, and Urban Design will be in attendance to provide updates about the current condition of the Malting Silos and receive your feedback about next steps.

For more information, please call 416-392-4044 or e-mail Councillor_Vaughan@toronto.ca.

Some UTer really needs to go to that and report back! I'd go if I could fit it in... but I can't.

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Tewder

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This is good news. I really liked this site as a Toronto museum, given the location and site history etc., or even a modern art gallery but if Metronome can raise the funds and save the site I'm happy.
 

Torontovibe

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Toronto needs some major waterfront attractions. I'm still waiting for our iconic waterfront building. A major modern art gallery is sorely needed and the waterfront is a perfect place to put one. I would have prefered it where Chorus is though. The foot of Yonge Street would be a great location. Just fill in a bit of lakefront and we're ready to go. Bye bye Captain Johns.
 

Tewder

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I agree with you about the modern art gallery, it could only be a good thing for the city. For the foot of Yonge at the waterfront, however, I'd have liked a large urban public plaza of some sort. You know, lots of fountains and cafes and so on. Toronto doesn't seem to do public spaces that well and this might seem a little too European for hogtown but I'd like it anyway.
 

isittimetomoveyet

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I agree with you about the modern art gallery, it could only be a good thing for the city. For the foot of Yonge at the waterfront, however, I'd have liked a large urban public plaza of some sort. You know, lots of fountains and cafes and so on. Toronto doesn't seem to do public spaces that well and this might seem a little too European for hogtown but I'd like it anyway.

I'd love it!
 

surlee

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Hey everybody!
I just joined this morning, looking to get info on what's happening at the Malt dock.

Here's what I've seen over the past few days.

Monday 19 Oct-Saw fire crew using zoom boom, inspecting the exterior roof of the south-western building. Also watched a portable construction site office trailer
being delivered.

Wednesday 21 Oct-Crew fencing off entire area, including Ireland park.

I'm very interested in what happens...I live across the street and work beside the building!

My vote is split between either a well designed restoration or a park!
 
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DSC

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Hey everybody!

Here's what I've seen over the past few days.

Monday 19 Oct-Saw fire crew using zoom boom, inspecting the exterior roof of the south-western building. Also watched a portable construction site office trailer
being delivered.

Wednesday 21 Oct-Crew fencing off entire area, including Ireland park.

I bet this is connected to Post 145 info:

At the Bid Committee meeting on 14 October the City is going to award a contract to remove the metal structures on the east side of the silos.
Call Document Request for Quotation 3910-09-5135
Description Removal of the Marine Leg, Structural Steel, Train Car Shed, and other Associated Parts and Equipment at 5 Eireann Quay

Recommended Bidder
JMX Contracting Inc.
 

androiduk

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silo3.jpg


silo2.jpg


silo1.jpg
 

spasongs

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There is something beautiful in these old silos to be sure. I am not sure about these museums they talk of. Would the people really come down in droves to a Toronto history museum? And Metronome is just a waste. Why would you go down to it. To see Randy Bachman's guitar in real life?

The music industry is in turmoil ( an it looks good on them). I don't see a music complex/ museum playing the rent after its opening.

It would be great if we could make this revamp based on what Valencia did to its aged harbour. And really make something amazing down there. Something that would make Toronto a must see. I know an aquarium comes up, and that would be cool, but it is not the magic bullet needed.

Hopefully we can make use of this unique spot in a unique way.
 

MatrixElement

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Meeting Report, October 21

Sorry if this is a bit long-winded, but I'd rather to go to bed than edit anymore. :)

I attended the meeting this evening at Harbourfront Community Centre. It was another packed room. Most of the people seemed to be from the immediate Bathurst Quay neighborhood and it was a notably older and more mixed-income crowd than the Cityplace Block 31 meeting last week. Several speakers mentioned having lived there for decades. Adam Vaughan hosted and there were several City staff including a planner and heritage expert.

They began by noting that the marine leg removal on the east side has commenced (as noted by an earlier post) and east dock wall repairs will happen soon. (I think they said within the next year.) This is already decided and budgeted for. The dock wall has to be repaired anyway because it is so badly deteriorated. Removing the marine leg will open up a promenade along the east side of the complex all the way from Queens Quay to Ireland Park. Some of the marine leg equipment will be stored for possible future use in an interpretive display.

As for the main site, according to the engineering reports the structure is in imminent danger of collapse in a matter of a few years and a final decision has to be made within months to either stabilize them or tear them down once and for all. The phrase “$hit or get off the toilet” was not used, but that was the gist. There are no plans yet; the purpose of the meeting was simply to get community ideas.

If the silos are saved, it will only be to stabilize them structurally. Converting them into functioning buildings or any other active use is completely out of the question at the moment, but isn’t precluded in the long term. They said the engineering is difficult and the silos don’t have a lot of internal load-bearing capacity. At most it might be feasible to build a single floor of say conference space or a lookout area at the top of northern silos for now.

If the silos are saved, the likely approach will be to demolish all the western buildings leaving only the silos themselves. Some of the land west of the silos and south of the community centre would then be sold for private development, with the proceeds being used to fund the silo stabilization and provide more community amenities. A pool was suggested as a vague possibility. The city planner showed a possible residential development idea involving a 16 story tower with a podium and some townhouses. This wasn’t a specific proposal; it was simply to illustrate the order of magnitude of any project that would be necessary to make the whole thing financially viable. They said the city would retain air strata rights above 16 stories in any such scenario to guarantee that nothing taller could be built, and that even the OMB couldn’t overrule it.

Two main things came out of the ensuing discussion. First, a surprising number of people want to demolish the site entirely. Second, the people preferred commercial and retail to residential development.

I was quite surprised by the first point that many people wanted to demolish the silos. The room actually cheered a few times when this was mentioned. A show of hands found about half the room agreed and half disagreed. Someone asked if the newer 1944 northern silos could be demolished while preserving the only older 1929 southern ones. The heritage expert was reluctant to say that the southern ones were more significant, but reading between the lines it seemed clear that was a possibility.

Someone asked why we need to maintain these silos when there are also the silos on the east end of the waterfront. Why not tear down one and focus all the resources on the other? Vaughan argued that first, it was better culturally to have the two bookending the waterfront instead of just one, and more practically that the other silos are privately owned with a heritage designation requiring the owners to maintain them. If the City neglects and then demolishes its own silos, then it will be very hard to continue to force the private owners to maintain the east silos. Vaughan also argued that this would make it politically difficult for the City to enforce heritage designations for regular buildings.

It was suggested that those who want them demolished should be careful what the wish for. Their presence and restoration would make it easier to tie the land sale proceeds to local area improvements, and to put heavy restrictions on the private development. But if they were demolished entirely, then the reality of Council politics and budget pressures would probably mean that the sale proceeds would disappear into the general City capital budget without necessarily benefitting the local area, and it would probably be harder to control the details of the private development.

Regarding the second point, the audience was generally opposed to more residential in the area and made the usual complains about density and traffic. They preferred a mix of public and private cultural and entertainment venues such as restaurants, a movie theatre, stores, etc. They complained about existing lack of such amenities, and the need for them given the influx of new condo residents to the north. Someone suggested moving some of Harbourfront Community Centre’s existing functions into a new building on the site, freeing up space along Queens Quay that could be rented out to retail. One person complained that there is no bar in the area. :) (Actually there is a lonely Japanese restaurant.) It wasn’t clear to me how this would work. My impression is that the land sale to private interests is essential to provide funding for the silo stabilization and new public amenities, but would a purely retail or commercial building with no residential raise enough funds?

At the end they agreed to form a citizen steering committee and ask Council to defer the final decision on whether to demolish or restore until January, giving the committee time to come up with a general plan for the area. There is also some sort of report going to Council on November 2.

A few other miscellaneous points:
• Someone mentioned that the old Maple Leaf Quay silos at Peter slip had been extremely difficult to demolish and went way over budget. Vaughan said that was because they were more structurally sound. The Canada Malting silos on the other hand have deteriorated so much that they will be easy to demolish. :)
• The land title is a bit unclear because a huge number of public agencies, some not even existing anymore, have had interests and covenants on the site over the years. Toronto Waterfront is not interested in incorporating this into its plans precisely because of this.
• The Toronto Port Authority wants to demolish the whole thing and built a surface parking lot.
• The quay on the east side of the slip, currently housing an underground parking lot and marina, was discussed. Some residents would like commercial and retail there, such as a restaurant. Vaughan noted that there are a complicated ownership and leasing arrangements there split between the federal government, City and Harbourfront Centre, which derives revenue from the parking garage, whose lower levels are currently flooded and unusable and being pumped out continually.
• Someone asked about using the silos for geothermal storage. It wasn’t ruled out in the long run but again is out of the question now.
• Someone asked about the Mississauga New Credit natives, who apparently have some sort of treaty water landing rights in the area, which is complicated by the fact that the waterfront has been moved over the past two hundred years.
• Something was mentioned about a possible Tall Ship festival in a few years.
 
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SimonP

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The Toronto Port Authority wants a parking lot on the site. From the Star:

Waterfront eyed for parking lot

A dramatic jump in passenger traffic at the island airport has triggered interest among other airlines and fears the airport's controlling agency wants to build a giant parking lot along the waterfront.

...

The renewed interest comes just weeks after the port authority shelved a plan to build a $38 million tunnel connecting the airport to the mainland, which didn't draw the hoped-for federal infrastructure money, and the announcement that airport foe Mayor David Miller doesn't intend to run again.

All of this has Councillor Adam Vaughan worrying that the port authority is looking longingly at the derelict, city-owned Canada Malting silos site as an opportunity to expand its airport parking facilities, potentially by 600 spots.

Currently, there are only about 220 parking spots near the ferry that takes passengers to the island.

"Of course there is a need for more parking. There is growing demand for parking," said Anthony Pappalardo, vice-president of Stolport Corp., which manages the lot.
 

Tewder

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Thanks for all the info' Matrix!!

This is the waterfront and in keeping with the long term vision of it as a string of public spaces/parks connected by residential/commerical nodes the silos should be preserved and featured as the centre of another piece of the waterfront puzzle. In fact, in keeping with the principles of waterfront rejuvenation what really is the issue? Shore up the silos now until such time as the details for the project can be planned and eventually realized. It may take time but we must not be short-sighted about these sorts of things.

Looking at the virtual tour of the site from the city of Toronto website it is obvious how successful and amazing this provject could be:

http://www.toronto.ca/tmp/video/tmp-virtual-tour.wmv

... And what a shame it would be to raise the silos, squandering the unique development/urban planning potential they represent and abandoning the site to commercial development whose standards and sensitivity to context we are all too familiar with (everybody going to be happy with the proposed parking lot here?). At the very least it would be a major rolling of the dice in terms of what we would end up with. No, this site is so spectacular and so central that something important is needed, and what a complement to the music garden and other waterfront parks it would be!

All this said, I have to admit that no matter how badly I think the city needs a city museum I do love the idea of a modern art museum as my first choice for this site, surrounded by gardens of art, so to speak, that would be open to the public. With such beautiful views to the lake this would be a gorgeous anchor piece for cool new residential development including the much desired shops, cafes and amenities.

There is something beautiful in these old silos to be sure. I am not sure about these museums they talk of. Would the people really come down in droves to a Toronto history museum? And Metronome is just a waste. Why would you go down to it. To see Randy Bachman's guitar in real life?

I agree that the music museum seems a bit silly. The music industry in Canada is fairly young and do we really need to see museum displays on Arcade Fire or Rita McNeil??

My second choice for the silos would be the Toronto history/culture museum. Whether we think it would be a tremendous popular success or not it's simply the right thing to do to have a home or repository for the artefacts of the city's past, as well as a place to tell the city's story. The site is appropriate in so many ways and there is lots of space here for indoor and outdoor displays. Besides, these sorts of museums can be educational for schools etc and can be interesting when using the latest technology etc.
 

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